LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) - It's the worst case of animal abuse southern Indiana police say they have ever seen: 20 poodles rescued from a home so disgusting that rescuing officers had to wear protective gear to enter the house.

The two-year old poodle being cared for by veterinarian Bill McDonald is still afraid of being around people and doesn't want to interact much. Police rescued the poodle and 19 others from an abandoned Paoli, Indiana home."She had one of the worst cases of matting and maggot infestation in the skin," said McDonald.

The veterinarian says it will take months for her skin to heal. He shaved 9 pounds of matted hair and fecal matter off her thin frame."Just unbelievable the conditions they were living in," he said.

Of the 20 dogs rescued, two have already died.

As officers rescued the animals, they had to put on respiratory masks because of the smell.

The dogs were living in two to three inches of feces"Some of them literally had large almost baseball, softball size clumps of feces hanging from their hair," said Orange County Sheriff's Detective Denis Lanham.

Orange County Sheriff's officers found food scattered around the house, but still aren't sure how some were surviving."We did not see any water throughout the house that would have been accessible to any of the dogs," Lanham said.

On Wednesday, the Orange County Prosecutor's Office filed 20 charges of animal neglect and abandonment against the owner of the home, Laura King. Police tell us King lives in Louisville.

"I would like to see this prosecuted to the furthest extent," said McDonald.

On Thursday, WDRB learned that King has been working as a vet technician at Metropolitan Veterinary Specialists. Donna Medley, the office manager, released the following statement about King's arrest:

"We became aware of a TV news story about animal cruelty last night, and are very disturbed to learn that the cruelty and neglect of the animals occurred at the home of Laura King, one of our employees. We knew Ms. King was a breeder of poodles, but no one associated with our clinic has ever been to her home in Paoli.

Ms. King worked in the evening as a treatment nurse and left a message on Monday that there was a family emergency and she would not be back to work until the end of the week. An employee has tried unsuccessfully to call her since then to see how she was doing, but she has not yet responded to any of their voicemails.

We were stunned by the news report because there never has been any instance when Laura has not provided appropriate care to the animals in our clinic. Needless to say, we are deeply concerned about what authorities found at her home and will cooperate fully if they ask for our help in the investigation."

Seventeen of the poodles are being cared for at the Orange County Humane Society. McDonald says the other surviving dog will be healthy enough to join the others in a few more days.

is accepting donations to offset the cost of caring for the poodles. 

Orange County Humane Society
856 N Greenbriar Dr.
Paoli, IN 47454
(812) 723-4142

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